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Self Image and the Adolescent


Adolescence is a time of rapid change and development in the body, mind, and emotions. It is where the development of one’s self-image really explodes. It is no wonder their self-image becomes distorted during this time. As they try to find their place in the world, they may experience many different feelings about themselves - ranging from love to disgust. They might feel like they’re not good enough or are too dumb or too skinny or don't have any friends. These thoughts can be very damaging to how they see themselves which could lead to low self-esteem and a feeling of being lost and disconnected. Adolescents are in the stage where they play with their sense of self. They experiment, compare themselves to others and build on a foundation for how they view themselves which may stay with them forever!


This time period marks when they start to explore their identity and try on different versions of themselves, now with more awareness than ever before thanks to social media. There are many positive experiences during this stage that will make up for future events, but it also has its share of difficulties too!


During this period, adolescents are prone to greater self-consciousness and susceptibility to the influence of their peers and chemical changes happening in the brain (Sebastian, Burnett, & Blakemore, 2008).


In adolescence, there are two important factors that influence self-concept and self-worth:

1. Success in areas in which the adolescent desires success

2. Approval from significant people in the adolescent’s life.


An adolescent’s negative self-image reflects an unspoken truth that many students carry with them. When these toxic thoughts seep into their lives, they can be detrimental to the way we interact with others and themselves. Additionally, some even go as far as sabotaging their own success by believing themselves unworthy or incapable in certain areas.


It is important for them to recognise when this has occurred so that it does not take over who they are and what type of person will show up on any given day. Rather than being afraid of the negativity, they can change their view and embrace these thoughts as a part of them. These are not weaknesses that should be hidden away but rather assets to help forge yourself into who they want to become in life – someone with resilience, creativity, intelligence...someone great!

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